double down on their efforts to stay healthy during this ongoing pandemic.
“Having diabetes and COVID-19 may be a risk for experiencing long-term negative consequences of COVID-19,” says Marlon Pragnell, vice president of research and science at the American Diabetes Association. “People with diabetes may have more severe disease that could manifest over a longer period of time.”
The message is clear: “Get vaccinated,” Pragnell adds. “You could get breakthrough COVID-19, but there are fewer reports of long COVID in people who are vaccinated.”
It’s equally important to keep your blood sugar in check if you have diabetes.
“The worse your diabetes is going into COVID-19, the worse your outcomes will be,” Pragnell explains.
Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and maintaining a normal weight are essential for managing diabetes and staying healthy, he notes.
Dr. Eunice Yu, medical director of COVID-19 Recovery Care at Henry Ford Health in Detroit, agrees.
“We are still learning about the mechanisms underlying long COVID, which will help us better understand why diabetes patients seem to be more susceptible,” she says.
If you get COVID and have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar more carefully for a couple of months after infection as diabetes may also be more severe after COVID, Yu suggests.
“Good rest, regular exercise and eating a healthy diet can prevent continued damage and help clear the virus,” she says.
If COVID-19 symptoms aren’t getting better or new ones are popping up, see your doctor for an evaluation, Yu adds.
“People do get better,” she says. “We don’t have a silver bullet, but we do have ways to help people with long COVID.”